College of Liberal Arts announces restructuring of interdisciplinary programs

In order to better sustain and grow five interdisciplinary programs in the College of Liberal Arts, Dean Teresa Scott Soufas has announced a decision to restructure their administration and match these programs with home departments. This decision was made in consultation with faculty members serving on the college Executive Committee and the Budget Priorities Committee. The new structure will go into effect July 1.

Going forward, American Studies will be based in the Department of English; Asian Studies in the Department of Critical Languages; Jewish Studies in the Department of Religion; Latin American Studies in the Department of History; and Women's Studies in the Department of Sociology.

According to Soufas, the curriculum for each of the programs remains unchanged.

"It is important to note these are administrative changes only," she said. "Each studies program — which may include a major, minor, and/or certificate programs — remains intact and will continue to be available to students interested in such areas of study. Courses will continue to be listed as offerings in each program; diplomas, transcripts and DARS notations of program requirements will remain the same."

As well, there will not be changes to advising, courses or affiliated faculty associated with these areas of study.

"These programs served so few students in majors, relative to our larger departments, that we determined it made more sense economically, administratively and pedagogically to integrate them into the structure of a department, rather than to continue managing them as stand-alone programs," Soufas said.

Home departments were selected for each program based on the number of faculty who are heavily invested in that course of study and the departmental curriculum.

The steering committees for each of the programs, which are made up of faculty members from across the college, will remain intact and continue to make recommendations for curricular innovations and course development within these areas of study.

"A student who majors in Latin American Studies, for example, will still take courses from a range of departments across CLA in accordance with the interdisciplinary nature of the field, and when he or she graduates, the diploma and transcript will still list Latin American Studies as the major," Soufas said. "This is the case with all of the programs."

Environmental Studies made a successful transition into the Department of Geography and Urban Studies in the very recent past, she said.

For more information, visit the College of Liberal Arts web site.